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CA/IL Statement on SCOTUS decision striking down key section of Voting Rights Act

Date: 
06/26/2013

Chicago, IL – Citizen Action/IL is deeply concerned about the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 5 of the 1968 Voting Rights Act, which for decades has provided a strong protective firewall against discrimination at the voting booth by states that have exhibited a history of discrimination against African-Americans.

Citizen Action/IL stands strongly behind the 1968 Voting Rights Act and believes today’s decision was made in haste, with complete disregard to instances of discrimination at polling places that still occur today around the nation. For the majority opinion to effectively declare that racism and discrimination is a thing of the past because “voter turnout and registration rates now approach parity” in covered jurisdictions is to ignore the serious implications of what striking down Section 5 (also known as “preclearance”) can bring.

Aside from giving even more cover to state legislatures that actively pursue gerrymandering and other egregious map-making tactics to dilute minority influence in elections, this decision could have enormous implications on determining the validity of state and local laws that have been purposefully designed to undermine the process of both voting and voting registration. For example, some of the most suppressive “Voter ID” laws pending review by Department of Justice may very well go into full effect with today’s decision.

We stand united with our national affiliate USAction to ensure that voter protections are addressed in the future and that the damage caused by the ruling is kept at a minimum. Join us to call on Congress to take action on the National Right to Vote Amendment, sponsored by Rep. Keith Ellison D-Minnesota.  Congressman Ellison will be honored at the CA/IL annual dinner in Chicago on September 20, 2013.